dog

The Dog And The Turkey

Sometimes it’s wise to keep your mistakes to yourself.

One June, the daughter of one of our close friends was getting married. When there’s an occasion like that in a farming community, everybody naturally pitches in. Her family was planning to hold the gift opening on the day after the wedding, and I offered to roast the turkey.

I must say I was pleased with myself when I took it out of the oven. I’d never seen such a glorious-looking bird: it had to be 35 pounds if it was an ounce.

I transported my creation out to the Laurentian, opened the passenger door, and set it onto the floor. As I ran back to the house to grab my purse, the heavenly aroma of the roast turkey wafted through the air.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought it smelled good. As I came back out, I saw our dog’s backside sticking out the door of the car. And boy, was her tail wagging! When I screamed blue murder, she took off, a drumstick clamped defiantly in her mouth.

I was filled with dread as I ran to the car to assess the damage. My heart sank at the thought of all those guests trying to make due with nothing more than rolls and potato salad. But thankfully, the rest of the bird was untouched.

What else could I do? I carefully sliced away the damaged part, climbed into the car, and drove to the reception. By the time I arrived, I had my story straight. “Ted just loves a leg of turkey,” I explained, “and I thought you wouldn’t miss it.”

Ted has laughed about the story ever since. But do me a favour: if you happen to bump into my neighbours, don’t tell on me!

-Lois Hole I'll Never Marry A Farmer

Rude Garden Guests

dog-vomit-slime-mold-mould-edmonton-alberta

There are many ways to describe living things in the garden but rude is rarely a term that comes to mind.

However there are a couple of living things that occasionally show up in gardens in mid-summer where rude is the only way to describe them. 

One is an organism called “Dog Vomit" and the second is something called the “Dog Stinkhorn”. 

Dog Vomit looks just like it sounds; Last week, I was walking past a bed of junipers just outside a restaurant and saw a mass of bright-yellow stuff growing on the mulch. Most people would assume that some poor dog vomited on the mulch but the reality is that the yellow mass is a critter called a slime mold. 

Slime molds feed on organic matter, such as mulch, and usually pop up a day or two after a summer thunderstorm. They don’t harm plants but look rather disgusting and are actually mobile and can move about the garden. Apparently, the movie “The Blob” was inspired by slime molds.

dog-stinkhorn-edmonton-alberta-yeg

I found the other rude organism— the Dog Stinkhorn—growing in the middle of a feather reed grass clump in a couple’s backyard. Dog Stinkhorn isn’t a slime mold but— like Dog Vomit—, it enjoys consuming organic matter like mulch and won’t harm garden plants. What makes this mushroom rather rude is both its smell and physical appearance.

The Dog Stinkhorn emits an odour that smells a bit like rotting meat. Flies are attracted to the mushroom thinking they have found a meal but instead find an inedible mushroom. The flies don’t find the food they had hoped for, however, they do manage to carry-off a few of the mushrooms spores to spots where they could germinate and produce new stinkhorns. 

Odour is one thing, but the appearance of the Dog Stinkhorn is quite another. Its Latin name is Mutunis caninis, and it is a member of the Phallaceae family. If you familiar with just a bit of Latin, you’ll know that Phallacea and Mutunis caninis alludes to the fact that the Dog Stinkhorn has a striking resemblance to… well, a part of a male Dog’s anatomy. 

Now, while there is no treatment for either Dog Vomit or Dog Stinkhorn remember that neither will hurt any of your garden plants. Some mulches are worse than others for harbouring these two organisms, although I have never seen either one show up in the "SeaSoil" compost we sell here in the greenhouse.

At the very least, if you have either or both of these creatures show up in your garden during a backyard get together, they are sure to ignite some interesting conversations.

~Jim Hole